Growing Sustainable Mussels in the Pacific Northwest

Our VideosBy Liza de Guia on Sep 2, 2010
Post to TwitterPost to FacebookPost to DiggPost to StumbleUponPost to DeliciousPost to Reddit

“On an acre-for-acre basis, mussel rafts produce hundreds of times more edible food than cattle ranching, making mussel farming a leader in food production.” – Taylor Shellfish Farms


I’ve eaten a lot of mussels in my life. Slurped them down without a care in the world, letting the wine-soaked, or sometimes, coconut milk-soaked juices run down my fingers and drip onto a discarded shell plate. There’s no elegant way to eat mussels. In my opinion, it’s one of those things like fried chicken – you just “get into” them. It’s a sloppy, joyful existence eating a bowl of mussel meat. And when they are plump and fresh, not scrawny and sad, it’s food bliss.

So why then did I never stop to think about how mussels are grown? I guess it never entered my mind to think beyond the 5lb bags I was buying at the seafood store. They came that way and that was that. Well, talk about being happily enlightened. Until I filmed this story, I didn’t realize mussels go through quite a bit before they reach your plate.

This summer, I spent some time with Gordon King, a sustainable mussel farmer from Totten Inlet in South Puget Sound. Now, besides looking like a more muscular version of Sean Connery, he was charming, engaging and really really passionate about his mussel crop.

Over a million pounds of hatchery-raised Mediterranean mussels are grown via suspension culture every year under his supervision – harvesting up to 25,000 lbs per week and shipped locally along the West Coast and to Chicago and New York. From July to early fall, the mussels are the fattest. In fact, they say this species of mussel, compared to blue mussels or New Zealand green-lipped mussels, is sought after by chefs for its high meat content. And after you see the video, you’ll also understand from the surroundings why their flavor is always fresh.

So seek them out now!

In New York, these specific Mediterranean mussels can be found on the menus at Marea, BLT Prime, Celeste and Convivo. And if you want to know how to get your hands on them yourself, you can contact W&T Seafood locally in New York or Taylor Shellfish Farms out West.

And if you ever need a mussel eating-partner here in NYC. Don’t hesitate to contact me on Twitter!

Thanks for watching food. curated. Happy Eating!

**And much gratitude to the Taylor Shellfish family for help making this trip possible.**

Comments

  1. nellie says:

    Great video, Liza! I have to admit, out of all the mussels I’ve had, Meds (as we like to call them) are still my favorite. I guess I am spoiled! They’re in their prime right now, so I better get my fill. And have to add that Gordon King is an excellent spokesperson… even better than Sean Connery!

  2. nellie says:

    Great video, Liza! I have to admit, out of all the mussels I’ve had, Meds (as we like to call them) are still my favorite. I guess I am spoiled! They’re in their prime right now, so I better get my fill. And have to add that Gordon King is an excellent spokesperson… even better than Sean Connery!

  3. Fran says:

    Not only do you shoot great video that helps tell the story, but clearly, you know the right questions to ask to get a great volume of interesting and informative detail to put into the clip.

    I look forward to each video you produce.

    Thanks!

    • Liza de Guia says:

      Fran, you just added a bit of sunshine to my day :) Thanks for cheering me on. I do love helping good food get noticed. It’s so important to me. Anyhow, if you ever want to cook Mediterranean Mussels together let me know. I can get my hands on some!

  4. Fran says:

    Not only do you shoot great video that helps tell the story, but clearly, you know the right questions to ask to get a great volume of interesting and informative detail to put into the clip.

    I look forward to each video you produce.

    Thanks!

    • Liza de Guia says:

      Fran, you just added a bit of sunshine to my day :) Thanks for cheering me on. I do love helping good food get noticed. It’s so important to me. Anyhow, if you ever want to cook Mediterranean Mussels together let me know. I can get my hands on some!

  5. Thomas Trager says:

    Another great video that generated interest as a viewer. Superb.

    I L O V E this stuff! :)

    Thanks Liza.

    • Liza de Guia says:

      And I adore you for supporting what I do Thomas. Thanks again for your input and for continuing to come back and leave me your fun comments. You are the best!

  6. Thomas Trager says:

    Another great video that generated interest as a viewer. Superb.

    I L O V E this stuff! :)

    Thanks Liza.

    • Liza de Guia says:

      And I adore you for supporting what I do Thomas. Thanks again for your input and for continuing to come back and leave me your fun comments. You are the best!

  7. Sue says:

    Great video! The seals are so cute. I loved hearing Gordon King talk about the mussels. Also great job on the geoduck video. I showed it to my family and the kids loved the part where the geoduck squirted water out. They asked to watch it several times. Look forward to future videos.

  8. Sue says:

    Great video! The seals are so cute. I loved hearing Gordon King talk about the mussels. Also great job on the geoduck video. I showed it to my family and the kids loved the part where the geoduck squirted water out. They asked to watch it several times. Look forward to future videos.

  9. Thank you for posting this information. We have been searching about this on yahoo and I am happy to find your blog. I will comeback in the future for updates.

  10. Thank you for posting this information. We have been searching about this on yahoo and I am happy to find your blog. I will comeback in the future for updates.

  11. Another Fantastic post, I is going to be sure to save this post in my Digg account. Possess a good day.

  12. Another Fantastic post, I is going to be sure to save this post in my Digg account. Possess a good day.

  13. I am starting to admire your site, it is very well made and informative. I can’t help myself to reminisce in my younger days when we used to gather mussels from the farm. Love these shells a lot.

  14. I am starting to admire your site, it is very well made and informative. I can’t help myself to reminisce in my younger days when we used to gather mussels from the farm. Love these shells a lot.

  15. Kurt says:

    I’m late to the party, just found your site, am enjoying it a lot! Your videos are great, I wonder whether your background is in food? Kind regards.

    • kurt says:

      Mee again. Oops! Meant to ask if your background was in film, but I was thinking about “food” while typing!

    • Liza de Guia says:

      Hi Kurt!! I’m a self taught film maker, but have been filming since 2003. Thanks for watching so many videos :) You’re so nice to support my little films. I shoot and edit everything solo still.

Leave a Reply